It is all about the future of the past


Monumental NEGLECT

If you leave aside the Victoria Memorial, the Shahid Minar is the pride of the Maidan. Towering over Esplanade and its surroundings at nearly 50 metres, it served as Kolkata’s most visible link to its glorious past — both as an architectural marvel and as a marker of the Raj,when it was known as the Ochterlony Monument.

But somewhere down the road, Minar and its pristine glory have taken a hit — much like the rest of Kolkata’s built heritage. Signs of neglect can be seen all over the structure. Encroachers have hemmed it in on all sides, with garbage dumps, open urinals, illegal shanties and squalid eateries ringing the base.

But the most dangerous signs of decay can be seen at the top of the tower. Lack of regular upkeep has left banyan and pipal saplings and weeds sprouting at the enclosure on top.“These can substantially weaken the structure and even cause deep cracks in the brick and mortar,” said Anish Sarkar, a conservation architect. The problem has worsened with rainwater steadily seeping into the structure from the top. “Some plastering has been done as patchwork but this has left the wetness trapped inside. This can accelerate the decay,” added Sarkar.

Inside the monument, the spiral staircase is a nightmare. All kinds of insects and birds breed here. The TOI team that climbed to the top needed to constantly clap so that pigeons, bats and kites could fly away.

Endangered cultural heritage sites
USA TODAY on oct 23, 2010

From the day one, long before forming SHE, we began our crusade centering around the ancient temple hamlet — Maluti. The vedic temple village of early 17 th Century exudes fascinating history and interesting folk-lores. The exquisite terracotta village is at different stages of decay. Neither the state of Jharkhand, the provincial government, nor Archelogical Survey of India seems to be interested in their proper preservation.

SHE was, thus, born with the mandate of saving this ancient village through its act as a pressure group and through promotion of the place as one of the finest tourists destinations in India., the fiirst official website of Maluti. the endangered temple village was ideated and finally floated with the same mission.

National Geograpic News
Posted Oct 23 2010

USA Today
Posted Oct 18 2010 6:30AM

The Wall Street Journal
Posted October 21, 2010, 12:18 P.M. ET

Maluti Temple in Slidshow (The Wall Street Journal )
Posted October 19, 2010, 1:15 PM HKT

Posted Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:54 PM

LA Repubblica (Italian News)
Posted Oct 20, 2010 (Hungarian)
Posted Oct 20, 2010

Russian News and Information Agency RIA Novosti (
Posted Weekend: 20-24 October, 2010

Times City On MAY 26, 2007

The exquisite art of the temple village, Maluty, is being reduced to dust. Maluty is a forgotten village in the Dumka hills, on the Bengal Jharkhand border, a mere 16 km from Rampurhat. Maluty is known as the temple village because of this is the only place in the country where 108 temples are clustered in a radius of just 350 metres. These temples bear testimony of the exquisite terracota designs preserved for centuries. They however are now in varying stages of decay and mostly in ruins. The riverbed of Shirali is full of Palaeolithic stone weapons but there is no restoration of the treasure trove. These terracota temples have survived four centuries of nature’s vagaries but the next generation may never get to see them. The fumes and dust of the unbridled stone quarrying is reducing the delicate terracota to dust. The once bustling temple village now lies virtually deserted with the exquisitely carved stones strewn around like debris. Thousands of illegal mines in the Dumka hill range are playing havoc with the environment and the heritage of the temple village. The stone dust not only chokes the people but also settles on the ancient walls of the temples. The lone crusader, Gopaldas Mukherjee, an ex-air force soldier and resident of the village, is fighting a battle to save his village and its priceless treasures. He has written two books on Maluty — Deb Bhumi Maluty and Bajer Badale Raj, a product of his research for over two decades. At 77, it is hard to miss his energy and enthusiasm despite the current situation. He has knocked on every government’s door but to no avail. But he is still hopeful. It is his hope that inspired us at SHE, Save Heritage & Environment to take a step forward to restore and protect the temple village and its people. SHE is a non-profit organization dedicated to identification, preservation of heritage in and promotion of the same through dissemination of information.


Lives Lost In A Cloud Of Dust
Times City On Nov 8, 2009

Exploitation is the only word that sums up the plight of workers at the stone crushing units lining Rampurhat-Dumka road. Just like the harsh topography of the land, villagers here are exposed to forces which are hostile to their existence. Excruciating labour, inferior wages and heart wrenching pain sums up the lives of the people of this region. The innumerable crushers on the sides of the road of Rampurhat-Dumka are gradually leading to the death of the people living here. Effects of unchecked stone crushing lead to diseases like lung cancer, silicosis, heart blockage, liver cirrhosis, nervous breakdown and acute anaemia. Unchecked stone crushing has also led to pollution which has further affected farming and the vegetation is gradually dying. More than 30,000 villagers in about 100 hamlets are being affected. These stone-crushing hubs supply stone chips for road and building constructions all over eastern India. One word sums up the story of these crushers: exploitation. Long hard labour on poor wages and poor medical attention are the order of the day in the lives of these people. A committee was appointed by the labour department to look into the occupational hazards of workers in the industry. Each labourer was supposed to be given masks to protect them from respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) which directly affects the breathing track and lungs. But till now no solution was reached. The entire area is engulfed in a thick cloud of dust; the labourers work 8.5 hours a day in such inhuman conditions. Protecting and preventing the area and the people is on the agenda of SHE, Save Heritage & Environment, a non-profit organization dedicated to identification, preservation of environment and heritage and promotion of the same through dissemination of information.


News Fossil treasure turns into dust
Times City On MARCH 15, 2010

The rocks of the 2,600-sq km Rajmahal hills in Jharkhand are a treasure trove. They have been preserved by the earth for millions of years. Rajmahal hills are among the finest research fields’ geologists and palaeobotanists can expect. Fossils from here find pride of place in museums and labs across the world. However this awe-inspiring wealth of Jurassic-era fossils is now turning into dust on the brinks of vanish forever, due to unbridled quarrying. Jurassic-age fossils are landing up in stone-crushing units from mines where plant fossils have been found. The rocks that preserve imprints of prehistoric trees and plants are being smashed up into chips to build roads in the neighbourhood. At places, the hills have been sheared almost vertically 10 storey high, destroying countless of the finest fossils ever found anywhere on the planet. The government of Jharkhand has given away mining leases indiscriminately to private companies, who are blowing up the hills and digging tunnels. However, Jharkhand deputy chief minister Sudesh Mahato said directives would soon be issued to the district administration to ensure the fossil sites are not damaged. According to experts, the plant fossils here date back between 68 million years and 150 million years. The Rajmahal trap has fossil formations from the Mesozoic era, spread over the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous ages. The Pahadiya tribe which resides in this region is fighting a losing battle to save their own existence and the historic remains of the place. We at SHE, Save Heritage & Environment have plans to take a step forward to restore and protect these historical remains. SHE is a non-profit organization dedicated to identification, preservation of heritage in and promotion of the same through dissemination of information.